Warrington Wolves centre Peter Mata’utia was this year’s recipient of the Loch Lomond Spirit of Super League award.
Mata’utia was recognised for his support of the social care charity Community Integrated Care, as an ambassador for Learning Disability Rugby League (LDRL).
He started working with them in 2019, while a Castleford Tigers player, and helped launch the first Learning Disability Super League season.
The Samoan international then helped to raise £20,000 for Community Integrated Care during the Covid pandemic by encouraging people to donate the money they were saving on haircuts, inspired by Mata’utia’s own pink rat’s tail.
He has since continued to share his time and skills on the ground-breaking programme, and LDRL continues to grow with 17 clubs now established.
“We’re in a sport that is more than just a game,” said Mata’utia on receiving the award, which has previously been given to Jamie Jones-Buchanan (2019), Rob Burrow and Mose Masoe (2020), and Kevin Sinfield (2021).
“We’re a community. We’re a place where it doesn’t matter what size, shape and colour you are, you can always be a part of this game. That’s the best thing about what we do.
“When I was 15, I always wanted to do two things as a Rugby League player.
“One of them was to be the player that others want to play with. The second one was to have as much of a positive impact as I can.
“Any time someone needs help, I’ll never hold back. Once I got the chance to work with John (Hughes, Director of Partnerships and Communities at Community Integrated Care) and the charity, I grabbed it with both hands.”
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